S. Thaler, M. Zessner, M. Mayr, T. Haider, H. Kroiss, H. Rechberger:
"Impacts of human nutrition on land use, nutrient balances and water consumption in Austria";
Sustainability of Water Quality and Ecology,
In this paper we focus on combining different methods for environmental impact assessment in a novel way to improve the understanding of the impact of animal and plant based food consumption on agricultural production and the environment under specific regional conditions with Austria as an example. About 1900 m2 arable land and 1700 m2 grassland per capita are needed to supply Austrians population with the currently required amounts of food. In total, these are 420 m2 of arable land per capita more than available in Austria. By contrast, Austria has 440 m2 of grassland per capita more than required for food supply of the own population. Our calculations show that 19.5 kg N capita−1 year−1 and 3.2 kg P capita−1 year−1 are needed from external sources for agricultural production. Out of this, 71% of the nitrogen (N) input and 58% of the phosphorus (P) input into the agricultural system is used for fodder production, the rest for production of plant based food and products for industrial use. Furthermore animal husbandry is responsible for 46% of the total N and 28.5% of the total P emissions into surface water in Austria, production of plant based food and of industrial products for 3.2% and 2.3%, respectively. The rest of emission is related to waste water disposal and air pollution. With regards to water consumption, calculated as water footprint, animal husbandry is responsible for 87% of the total food production induced water footprint.
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